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  • By Dr. Justin Lafreniere, ND

Introduction to Prolotherapy

Prolotherapy, also known as regenerative injection therapy (RIT), is a non-surgical treatment for damaged ligaments and relief of musculoskeletal pain. A growth factor stimulant solution is injected into areas with ligament or connective tissue damage, stimulating injury repair and thereby naturally strengthen the connective tissue.

Much of chronic musculoskeletal pain is related to sensitive nerve receptors in tendons or ligaments, which are activated by pressure, stretching, and injury. Because ligaments and tendons have a poor blood supply, they often do not heal completely after injury. When they do not return to their normal length and strength after an injury, they may become stretched and lax. This causes joints (including the vertebrae) to become unstable, producing excessive rubbing, arthritic changes, and persistent, low-grade pain. The healing mechanisms stimulated by prolotherapy help to restore normal function in weakened joints and connective tissues. Prolotherapy involves injection of a simple proliferant solution of a growth factor stimulant, typically a mixture of dextrose, human growth hormone, or another agent into soft tissues such as ligaments or tendons. The solution is referred to as a “proliferating agent” because it produces a proliferation of chemical messengers called cytokines and growth factors. These chemical messengers then create a cascade of cellular events that involve the production of new, healthy connective tissue and the removal of damaged collagen and other fibres. Connective-tissue-builders called fibroblasts lay down new fibrous tissue wherever they detect damage, while other natural substances trigger the growth of new blood vessels and the flow of nutrients. The difference between prolotherapy and anti-inflammatory drugs (such as aspirin, ibuprofen, or even cortisone) is that although these medications may relieve pain temporarily, they also block some of the natural chemicals that are naturally produced to repair damaged tissues. In many cases, therefore, an injury never heals completely, and the pain becomes chronic and persistent. Many people with musculoskeletal pain enter a vicious cycle of pain, drugs, more pain, and more drugs. By contrast, because prolotherapy involves a cycle of controlled inflammation and healing, rather than just temporarily blocking pain sensations, it actually triggers the growth of new tissue, which permanently repairs the joint. With strong, tightened ligaments and tendons, the joint is re-stabilized, and no longer causes pain. Prolotherapy is used for the treatment of many chronic and acute pain conditions such as tendonitis, osteoarthritis, sciatica, temporomandibular pain syndrome, fibromyalgia, adhesive capsulitis, and many others. Please contact me at 604-925-2560 or if you would like more information.


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